Publication Details

Noble, G. I., Stead, M., Jones, S. C., McDermott, L. & McVie, D. (2007). The paradoxical food buying behaviour of parents: insights from the UK and Australia. British Food Journal: an international multi-disciplinary journal for the dissemination of food-related research, 109 (5), 387-398.


AbstractPurpose - This article aims to explore the apparent paradox between the nutritional knowledge ofparents of pre-school children and their actual food purchase and preparation behaviour.Design/methodology/approach - Two separate qualitative data collection exercises wereconducted, an exploratory focus group study in the UK and a projective technique study in Australia.Findings - The UK study found that, despite believing that vegetables were good for children'shealth, mothers also perceived that it was extremely difficult to encourage children to eat them. Theresults of Australian study suggest that the purchase of unhealthy "treats" or "bribes" is explainedthrough the concept of "expediency" whereas what this study labels as "good parenting" emerged asthe main motivational force leading to the purchase of healthy food.Research limitations/implications - The authors caution on any inappropriate generalisationsbeing based on the findings of this study. Further qualitative and quantitative empirical research issuggested in settings different to those of this study.Practical implications - The authors suggest that information- and education-based campaigns,which simply emphasise the benefits of "healthy" food and the disbenefits of "unhealthy" food forchildren will have limited impact on childhood obesity. Instead, future interventions need toacknowledge the complex reality of parenting and the barriers and competition to healthy foodchoices, and to offer parents meaningful help in food purchasing and preparation. An approachsuggested by the authors that acknowledges this complexity is that of social marketing.Originality/value - This paper provides new insights into the food purchase and preparation behaviourof parents and suggests alternative strategies for addressing the current childhood obesity epidemic.Keywords Consumer behaviour, Parents, Children (age groups), Obesity, United Kingdom, AustraliaPaper type Research paper



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